Dr. Hilary Hunt, 83, is a lifelong Catholic who still attends Mass regularly at St. Thomas More Church, less than a mile from his west side Paducah home.
A retired orthopedic surgeon, he now enjoys hunting, golf and gardening, but his mind is never far away from considering the God he refers to as "the Creator of the universe that reflects His perfection."
His introduction to Catholicism and the vengeful God that would send him to hell for chewing the communion host caused him to attempt obedience to the church's rules, only to be continuously disappointed.
"It was terrifying," Hunt said.
"At about age 11-12, I began noticing that nothing I prayed for materialized," he said. "We pray to God expecting God to change his mind, which He cannot and will not."
He describes God as perfect, and thus not capable of changing His mind.
After years of struggling with the actions and teachings of Catholicism, Hunt felt compelled to distill his journey into the 118-page book "Wilderness Cry," which he self-published last year through Create Space, a division of Amazon.
The book is available through Amazon.com for $10.95, and Hunt will be at the Mayfield Fair Grounds from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday for the Just for You Vendors and Craft Show, where he will sell signed copies of his book.
Careful never once to refer to the Bible as "God's Word," Hunt said, "I'm convinced that the Old Testament stories are a very humanistic version of the world. Their ideation is perfectly understandable but bathed in selfishness."
He referred to the Bible as "the book we have" and said "it is not a reliable source of information really. We don't have any idea of what Jesus really said."
Referring to his book as "a scientific and philosophical approach to understanding God and the universe," Hunt nonetheless uses themes that he sees throughout the Bible as the basis for his understanding of the nature of God.
"My contention is that God only created one thing -- the quark, the very basic element of matter," Hunt said.
He believes that since perfection resides in that most basic element, everything that is composed of matter or built from items that contain those elements is also perfect.
Midway through the book, he summarizes this concept by saying, "We and all existences are by Him, of Him, and in Him; therefore we are Him." He reasons that since we are all mirror-images of God, we will all enjoy life with Him forever.
"God cannot send himself to hell," he said. "There is no hell."
He added there is, however, sin. He describes "selfishness" as the only real sin, but sees ample evidence that selfishness is seen throughout the world and with increasing frequency.
"Selfishness may be defined as any activity, idea or consideration directed at self," he writes, arguing that selfishness is the antitheses of Jesus' guideline to "love our neighbor as ourselves."
Throughout the book, Hunt criticizes Catholicism - and all organized religion - for creating rule upon rule for the purpose of controlling the behaviors of believers.
He says that since Jesus was able to consolidate laws and rules into "love God" and "love your neighbor," people should not attempt to add to this short list.
He criticizes the universal Christian church - he claims that there are now more than 33,000 separate Christian denominations - for legislating the giving of money to create larger and more ornate buildings while failing to give to the poor and feed the hungry.
"We have to accept others whether we agree with them or not," Hunt said. "We love one another because God loves them."
He said churches continually ignore Jesus' admonition to take up their cross and love their neighbor by providing for them.
"Shame, shame, shame on them," he writes.
His antidote to alleviate previous failings is found in the single-page Chapter Six, titled, "A Prescription for Success."
"If the churches and great religions truly wanted to save the world, eliminate hunger and suppress disease, they would take bold and decisive steps," he writes.
The steps involve selling of everything to give to those in need and creating a singular TV ministry that would broadcast the basic few truths about God.
Taking the book's title from the conclusion of this chapter, he writes, "Does anyone hear my cry? Does anyone care?"
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